The Banded Swallowtail (Papilio demolion demolion)
The Banded Swallowtail is a very skittish and fast flying butterfly. Although not rare, encounters of this species can be limited to a few preferred locations. When in full flight, it is very difficult to photograph, and the fleeting moments when it alights to feed at flowers allow a photographer a very narrow window of opportunity to shoot it.
When stalking a speedy feeding butterfly, it's all about anticipation, knowledge of the behaviour of the butterfly, its preferred flower and then positioning oneself at the best position that would yield a good shot with a nice background, and the rest is pure luck and a good dose of skill! In an earlier article, photographing these skittish Swallowtails was also discussed in this article. This shot, taken by ButterflyCircle member Sunny Chir, exemplifies a well-executed shot of a Banded Swallowtail, perched on a Lantana flower, proboscis extended whilst its wings are in motion, ready to fly off in the blink of an eye!